2012/13 Premier League Previews In Their Own Words - Part 1

Less than three months after Manchester City claimed the Premier League title, it all starts up again but who'll be celebrating next May?

Those of you who have been with us a while will remember that last season we asked a blogger from every Championship about their thoughts for the season ahead, and how they figured the season might pan out for the Royals.

Well we've repeated the trick this year in the Premier League thanks to the kindness of a range of bloggers from the SB Nation network and beyond, starting today with Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Everton.

Arsenal

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Ted from Arsenal Blog - The Short Fuse - @TheShortFuse

How would you sum up last season?

Last season was pretty stressful for the club and supporters, I think, as things were looking kind of dim for a while there. From February's victory over Tottenham onwards, though, the ride just kept getting more and more exciting until the last day. Arsenal had to fight through their usual slate of injuries (ten different players at fullback in the league alone!), but some key signings (Mikel Arteta) stabilized the midfield and kept things moving. Overall, third place was probably about right, but it was gnarly getting there.

How has the summer gone so far?

So far, it's gone pretty well. Bringing in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud should spread out some of the scoring burden. The big story obviously has been the Robin van Persie "saga", which as of today remains unresolved. Santi Cazorla seems on the very brink of joining, which will help the creativity in midfield quite a bit. The club does need to find a way to continue to shift some of the players on the fringes, though, to help free up some wages as well. That's probably the biggest task at hand along with sorting out van Persie and Theo Walcott's deals.

Who's your key player next season?

It's hard to say right now, with the "saga" ongoing as it is. It's tempting to say it's van Persie unless he leaves, but with the arrival of Giroud in particular as a solid no. 9, the burden on van Persie is lessened a bit. Honestly, the correct answer here might well be "Mikel Arteta"--he simply keeps the machine whirring along in midfield, and Arsenal found it very difficult to win without him last year, only managing to do so once in the league.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

If he hasn't already burst, it's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Depending on how much time he sees in the Carling Cup, Thomas Eisfeld has also looked pretty good in the preseason fixtures so far, but he might be a bit raw yet. Nico Yennaris is a solid young utility player who can make a big impact at defensive mid or fullback, too.

Where do you think you'll finish?

It's tricky to answer this before the transfer window closes; assuming Cazorla signs, I'd say Arsenal are poised to finish no lower than fourth. If another key player signs on as well (say, the much-mooted Nuri Sahin), things will get very interesting in the top 3...

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

It's pretty clear that defensively, Reading were solid last year. If that can continue, and the new addition of Pavel Pogrebnyak can help the offensive end of things, then I think there's a great chance that they can escape relegation.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

Top four will be Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal, I think, in roughly that order. Bottom three is trickier--Norwich, QPR, and Southampton, I think, although I wish Stoke would get relegated instead of Southampton.

Aston Villa

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Kirsten Schiewitz from 7500 to Holte - @7500toHolte

How would you sum up last season?

It was hell and the devil is a ginger with a Scottish accent.

How has the summer gone so far?

Villa supporters are feeling pretty upbeat these days. We landed Paul Lambert, which, after Alex McLeish, may have satisfied us in and of itself. But Lambert's gone and made some great moves that don't cost much, collecting players from the Eredivisie. We've added Ron Vlaar in defence and Brett Holman in attack, but many of us are most excited about Karim El Ahmadi, who looks to take on the Stiliyan Petrov role in central midfield.

Who's your key player next season?

I don't speak for all Villa fans, but I think it's Darren Bent. We paid quite a bit of money for him in a desperate move, and he hasn't been the saviour many hoped. Sure, he was our top scorer last season, but it's not hard when you have ten goals on a club that only has 37 for the season. 37! Now under Lambert the team is playing a much more attacking style, and I'd love to see what Bent can do -- particularly if he stays healthy.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

Anyone who reads 7500 to Holte knows I have a thing -- nae, an obsession -- with Barry Bannan. I've been waiting the past two years for him to reveal his true talents to the world. But through a combination of punishment and McLeish tactics last season, he really didn't have a chance to prove himself. Now, watching him in preseason, I'm getting the feeling he just might be becoming the player we've always hoped. Lambert's giving him more of a chance to be creative in the midfield, and he's taking it on with newfound maturity. He's got a superb eye for a pass and great dead-ball skills and can orchestrate play and oh my god I just love him to bits.

Where do you think you'll finish?

There seems to be a consensus amongst our writers that we'll end up around 10th. We're not expecting miracles from Lambert's first season in charge. What we're hoping for is a season without that horrific dread of watching the bottom of the table. And a season in which football is fun again. I said last season was hell and I meant it, as it was torture just to watch some of those matches. Right now, we'd just like a little fun in our lives.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

No offence to Reading fans, but I'm not sure how much we've thought of you! In our writers' discussion about the upcoming season, though, not one of us picked Reading to go back down. So there's that.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

All five of us think Chelsea and the Manchesters will be top four. We're divided on whether it'll be Arsenal or Spurs taking the last spot, with one thinking Liverpool will sneak back in.

As for the bottom three, most of us think Wigan's time is finally up (not me, though, I still have faith!). West Brom and Swansea were also tipped by the majority.

Chelsea

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Graham MacAree from We Ain't Got No History - @WAGNH_CFC

How would you sum up last season?

Confusing. Chelsea played as poorly as they ever had and won the Champions League anyway. I mean, I'll take it, but that was something of a roller-coaster ride.

How has the summer gone so far?

Pretty well, I'd say. Eden Hazard and Oscar are fine additions that should help the club for many years to come, and Marko Marin has plenty of potential as well. Chelsea aren't done yet, of course -- although I suspect that they'll wait until after the Olympics to add more to the squad. I'm not excepting anyone huge, although then again I wasn't expecting Oscar to fall into our laps either.

Who's your key player next season?

Probably Fernando Torres, because we need a player capable of turning pretty passes and creative play into goals. If he can morph back into a top-tier striker, we're pretty golden. If he can't... well, things aren't that bad -- Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Daniel Sturridge are all capable of a double-digit haul -- but it'd be rather suboptimal.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

Does Hazard count? If Hazard counts, I'll run with that. Otherwise we should see Oriol Romeu and Ryan Bertrand get more playing time, which would be neat. Both are good but probably not future greats.

Where do you think you'll finish?

Third, right now. Midfield needs some help before I'm confident in our ability to chase down the Manchesters.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

Reading are an interesting team. Historically, I never really thought about them getting relegated (although I held a brief grudge after the Petr Cech thing), and I was a bit surprised when they did. This year I see them as a generic 10-15th place team, which is slightly strange because I think there are about eight sides I'd put into that category.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. As for the bottom three, I honestly have no idea. The Premier League looks very strong this year, and I'm not going to bet on Wigan getting relegated. That would be silly. I think the whole bottom half of the table might be a relegation dogfight.

Everton

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Daniel Miller from Royal Blue Mersey - @rbmersey

How would you sum up last season?
The usual curate's egg. But it tasted OK by May!!

How has the summer gone so far?
Well - at least until earlier today when Rodwell was Synthetic Cream FC bound for not nearly enough.

Who's your key player next season?
Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar, Jelavic...

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?
Barkley if he picks up his ideas - or maybe George Green or Junior.

Where do you think you'll finish?
Sixth.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?
I expect they'll do as well as they did the last time they came up. It's anyone's game from 9th downwards so good home form (and attacking intent) will get plenty of points in the bag.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?
Top 4: City, Chelsea, United, Arsenal

Bottom 3: West Ham, Southampton, Norwich (or Wigan, Stoke, WBA)

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